Adam and I went out to practice crack climbing in Leavenworth. The original idea was to climb Givler's Crack and do laps on the first part of the second pitch. However, we decided not to do the longer walk and split our time between Gibson's Crack and Dogleg Crack. We got a late start and poked around the canyon a bit before starting as we wanted the sun to warm things up a bit.
I had climbed Gibson's a few years ago, but followed Ian. This time around I wanted to lead it. But I started at the lower start and had placed two pieces in the upper section before I was half way up. Since the crack is fairly uniform in width, I got concerned that I wouldn't have gear to place higher up and bailed off. We set up a top rope and did a few laps each with the obvious crux at the top of the route. My first time through the crux was not pretty and the second time was just fine. I lamented to Adam how this sure gave me a lot of trouble being only a 5.5. I told him I have no problems on the 5.7 Givler's. Which I guess means it was good that we came out and did this as I would rather work on climbs that are giving me difficulty.
After a short break for lunch, we drove over to Dogleg Crack. We hiked around and set up a top rope. I had tried to lead this route last season, but backed off when I found the gear to be almost as difficult as the climbing. I went first, and sort of remembered the moves through the crux, but couldn't seem to sequence them. I lowered off without getting passed it because I was tiring and hanging in the Bod harness was not so comfortable.
Adam gave it a go and was able to struggle his way through the crux before going into an awkward lieback before the climb eases a bit. He hit his high point moments later on the thinner finger crack section and I lowered him because he was pumped. I got back on and struggled and hung through the crux before completing the rest of the pitch with a little fall at the dog leg.
We were both pretty tired but decided to climb Hind Quarters next to Dogleg. At the crux, our top rope was pulling us too far away from the route to finish, so Adam played with the finger crack a little bit before lowering off. I gave Hind Quarters a go and found myself to be quite tired but at the crux bailed back onto Dogleg to finish. I made my way up for the last time to clean the anchor and walk back down.
It was a strange day as I expected to have a positively easy time on Gibson's Crack and not struggle as badly on Dogleg Crack. I think my previous effort with Lori on Dogleg Crack was aided by taping my hands. I hate to admit that it made that much of a difference, but I really beat up my hands yesterday and struggled more than previously. So it appears to be an obvious connection.
Route Profile: Mt. Erie's Zig Zag Route (5.7 or 5.8 II)
41 minutes ago